Advice from The Godfather aboutAdvice from The Godfather about negotiating salary negotiating salary

Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter uses a memorable quote from “The Godfather” to offer advice about salary negotiation.


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I'm back today with more advice from The Godfather about job hunting.  In the movie, it isn't done a better job hunting. Marlon Brando plays The Godfather, James, Caan plays Place his older son, Sonny. Sonny is a hot tempered guy, very quick. There is a point where Sonny says something about what he is thinking and The Godfather says these words:

"Never tell anyone outside the family what you are thinking again."
The idea behind this is often, in negotiations, people are asking you, "What do you think about the job?"

I think it's okay to answer them.  With regard to compensation,, you are always best served if you hold back a little bit.  You can say something like, "I'm thinking pretty favorably about this.  I'm hoping this is a high offer."

Avoid giving them a number in the negotiation phase.  Why? Because as soon as you give them a number, that's the one that they are focused on.  No higher. No lower.  That's it.

If you have 2 or 3 firms on the hook, then they will start bidding against one another.  You can start playing one off against the other

Recruiters may say something to you like, "Tell me what you are thinking.  What is it going to take to close the deal?"  In all candor, I do this all the time.  What serves you best is if you hold out what that number is problem is going to cause you to say yes.  Sometimes, the character strategy is that the recruiter will come back and lowball you.

You will respond by saying, "What! That is ridiculous!  I would never take an offer like that!"

"What would you take?"

At that point, you start talking about the number and then they've got you.

Hold off on talking about specific numbers that will cause you to say yes.  Like The Godfather says,, "Never tell anyone outside the family. What you are thinking."  What will happen is that's the only number they are going to be concerned about.  You're better off if you have multiple situations going and tell them what the other firms are thinking, not what you are thinking.


JeffAltman, The Big Game Hunter
JeffAltman, The Big Game Hunter

Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a coach who worked as a recruiter for what seems like one hundred years. His work involves career coaching, all as well as executive job search coaching, job coaching, and interview coaching. He is the host of “No BS Job Search Advice Radio,” the #1 podcast in iTunes for job search with more than 1900 episodes, and is a member of The Forbes Coaches Council.

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